The Citadel or Ċittadella
Gozo Citadel, Ċittadella in Maltese remains one of the most breathtaking fortifications on the island of Gozo. This incredible fortress is steeped in the kind of mythology that makes Gozo such a fascinating place to visit. Though it has been developed over the centuries, the foundations of this iconic building were laid thousands of years ago. Now one of the most popular tourists attractions in Gozo, the Citadel can be seen from far away, towering over the picturesque hill and rustic city that lies beneath.
If you happen to be visiting Malta for a holiday or a short break, a visit to the citadel is highly recommended. Travellers can purchase package deals that include a full day excursion and transportation to the Citadel itself. You can also venture to Cirkewwa and get the ferry to Gozo from there. You’ll then have to catch a bus to go the Gozo’s centre. It’s not recommended to walk there since it’s quite a long walk and from Gozo’s harbour it is a very steep going uphill. The Citadel’s huge limestone walls of the fort are instantly recognisable and the solid, angular silhouette will most likely be familiar to you from film and TV productions over the years. Though the citadel itself wasn’t used extensively, Game of Thrones recorded footage in Gozo. The picturesque landscape is perfectly suited for period dramas and epic films.
The city walls were the site for numerous conflicts that took place in and around the citadel. In 1551, the invasion of Gozo took place. The Ottoman empire descended upon Gozo, defeating the defending forces and taking over the citadel. Over 5000 men and women were taken to slavery by the Ottoman Turks. Leaving Gozo deserted with only around 300 people making an escape by climbing down the Citadel walls. Though records are not extensive, there are many legends and stories that have survived from these turbulent days.
These days, things are much calmer and tourists enjoy the spectacular, sun kissed views around Gozo every year. Gozo has other sights to over with several beaches or the incredible Ggantija temples. The citadel though can offer great panoramic views from up high and you’ll see the strategic point it had over the island of Gozo. Though the ambience and architecture of the citadel are enough to attract visitors all year round, it’s the spectacular views this vantage point provides that brings many people here. As one of the highest points in Victoria, you can see for miles in every direction, making it a perfect place for photo opportunities. In 2018, the Citadel was nominated for the RegioStars Award which is a prestigious EU award.
Unlike many attractions you are likely to find in popular tourist destinations, the Citadel in Gozo is free for visitors, which makes it a great option for travellers on a budget. Only the visitor centre requires a paid ticket. When you visit also make sure to visit the visitor centre and museum. The centre is housed into two enormous water reservoirs built in the 1870s. You can walk an interactive centre with information about the Citadel and also go into a complete surround audio visual theatre.